Personal Relationships with Difficult Students

Kerry and her teaching partner, Darlene, continue to share how they use the three practices (Part II) of the Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model.

We try to develop excellent personal relationships with our most challenging students. In this way, we know that we have a better chance of having them WANT to cooperate with us. We often ask these students to be our helpers. We get them on OUR side right from the beginning. Although we want to have excellent relationships with all of our students, our first priority is to HAVE OUR MOST IMMATURE STUDENTS ATTACH TO US. The work of Dr. Gordon Neufeld has really helped us in this. I can’t recommend his workshops and DVD’s too highly.

We try to be proactive with immature students. For example, on the way to the carpet for a story, we might invite a difficult student to sit up close to us by saying, “This is a great book, Henry. There are wonderful pictures in it. Come and sit up close by me so that you can see them. I know you’ll enjoy them.” With Henry up close, there’s a greater possibility that he will remain engaged and well-behaved. With him close at hand, it’s also easier to catch his attention in subtle ways that Marv refers to as “unobtrusive techniques” in the Discipline Without Stress book (p. 90-93).